The organisation, which owns a property portfolio on behalf of the Queen, will also hand over land that it owns at the west end of Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh as part of an overhaul designed to bring the Crown Estate closer to the people.
The announcement yesterday follows a report by the Scottish affairs select committee in Westminster which recommended that control over the revenue from the seabed and shore around Scotland’s coast should be taken away from the Crown and handed to communities.
The Scottish Government has called for the Crown Estate to be devolved to Edinburgh. Last night the Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said that the proposals did not go far enough.
“This is a missed opportunity by the UK government for much-needed accountability of the Crown Estate. These developments do not go far enough and greater transparency is needed over all Crown Estate functions in Scotland,” he said.
“Today’s developments are a small step forward, but it must not be the end of the story. Scotland deserves better than a limited and reluctant release of the Crown Estate assets from centralised London control.
“Rather than being determined to hold on to the Crown Estate at any cost, the UK government should relinquish responsibility and devolve control to the Scottish Parliament and Scotland’s communities.”
The Crown Estate said that it had yet to be established which organisations would take control over mussel and oyster fishing and the land in the centre of the capital, which is currently used for recreation and leased to Edinburgh City Council.
The MPs’ report published earlier this year criticised the Crown Estate for behaving like “an absentee landlord or tax collector” and claimed it did not reinvest in communities from which it derives income.
The Crown Estate has responsibility for Scotland’s territorial seabed, a role that gives it influence over the development of off-shore renewable energy.
Over the next few months, the Crown Estate said that it would develop a new structure to work more closely with the communities near property owned by it. A Scottish commissioner will chair a newly established Scottish Management Board.
Gareth Baird, the Crown Estate’s Scottish commissioner, said: “We are serious about changing the way we do business in Scotland and the reforms we are announcing today acknowledge that we could have been more responsive to local communities in the past.
“They will ensure that in addition to delivering new inward investment, business and jobs opportunities in Scotland, our energy, rural and coastal businesses will be able to respond more effectively to the communities in which they operate.”